In a little less than two months, Kansans will be able to begin shopping for individual health insurance plans through the new, online marketplace called the exchange. Most of the plans will be sold by three companies.
According to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, they'll be the same three companies that provide the bulk of health insurance in Kansas now: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Blue Cross of Kansas City, and Coventry.
"Within those companies, we're probably going to have 50 or 60 different plans for people to choose from at various levels of subsidy and various levels of out-of-pocket expense," says Praeger. "So there's still going to be an opportunity for folks to choose."
Other companies may file plans to sell on the exchange between now and October 1, but they haven't done so yet.
Praeger says companies that are hesitant to jump in to the marketplace right away, may be missing a big opportunity. She thinks people will be reluctant to switch to a different company after they get coverage next year.
"My biggest concern is that people understand what they're eligible for and begin to reap the benefits of having access to health care services because they have insurance," she says.
Toward that end, Praeger and her staff will conduct a series of meetings statewide in September and October to help people understand the new law.